Snowy Owls a white spot in a gray landscape

There’s not a whole lot of white in our landscape this winter. In fact, none here today, though there is some ice build-up on some of the trees.  As I write, it’s another rainy day outside our Canton studios, and looks like lots of the same around the region.

Is the news that people are sighting snowy owls in Syracuse at all cheering? The Syracuse Post Standard (via Associated Press) reports people have seen at least three snowy owls at the Syracuse Airport this winter.

Syracuse airport officials say they monitor the owls to make sure they don’t pose any dangers to aviation. Officials say if the birds become a safety concern, experts from Cornell University will be brought in to relocate them.

This morning, Cornell’s ornithology lab circulated this video:

which has some great shots of owls, and some interesting info.

I’m interested: any snowy owls in our/your neighborhood?

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9 Comments on “Snowy Owls a white spot in a gray landscape”

  1. Kevin says:

    We had one sitting on a muskrat mound in Racquette Pond Tupper Lake all day December 3,2011.

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  2. Lucy Martin says:

    Saw an article the other day about snowy owls showing up in unusual places across the nation, including one poor bird that made the mistake of hanging out at the Honolulu International Airport. (Oahu being my old neighborhood, so to speak.)

    I am sad to say that proved to be a ill-fated visit.

    As reported by a Hawaii news website Civil Beat after repeated and unsuccessful efforts to scare the owl away, it was shot and killed. Those involved are reported to be heartsick over the situation, intended to prevent any mishap that would claim human lives.

    An excerpt from the full article:

    “It was Thanksgiving Day and a white Snowy Owl from the Arctic was fluttering around the runways at Honolulu International Airport.

    How it made its way from its native habitat is unknown, but the day would not end well for the owl that local officials say could be the first to grace Hawaii’s shores.

    By mid-day it lay dead, felled by a gunshot wound from an official working for the USDA’s Wildlife Services Division.

    The incident was reported in the NYTimes over the weekend in a story about an unusually high number of the owls swooping across shorelines and fields of the continental U.S., delighting bird watchers.

    The graceful, two-foot long bird, with white wings embroidered in black, was considered a threat to airplanes taking off from the airport.”

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  3. tootightmike says:

    I watched one last winter, during the late deer season. It landed on a tall fencepost, just a hundred feet away. In the pre-dawn light it was quite bright…and utterly still. It would sit, without so much as a twitch for minutes on end, then turn its head to watch or listen in a new direction,,,absolutely still. At one point I moved, and in doing so made some small noise. The owl looked right at me, and stayed on me for the longest time, though I was quite hidden.
    I got to see it locate and then pounce on its prey, then fly off…all without a sound.

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  4. jill vaughan says:

    First poem I ever memorized was Farley Mowat’s ode to the snowy owl- which was just disgusting enough to bother adults I knew, and short enough that a 5 year old could rattle it off.

    The snowy ow, I’ve heard it said,
    Lives on the entrails of the dead.
    It loves to feast on rotting bowel,
    Which spoils it as a table fowl.

    Farley Mowat

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  5. Two Cents says:

    I’ve read they can spot a mouse on home plate from the cheap seats, in no more light than a lit match.

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  6. jill vaughan says:

    first line should read “owl”, not ow.

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  7. Snowflake says:

    I have seen a Snowy Owl at least once every year for the past 18 yrs. on Rt 3/30 between Tupper and Saranac Lake.

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  8. stillin says:

    I saw my first and only snowy owl, driving to work from Massena to Lisbon. It was sitting in a green field and at first I thought it was a seagull. Then I back tracked and got out and walked to it. I thought it was hurt but it flew away and it was magestic. I always see wildlife and I love my drive . The other coolest thing I ever saw were a pack of coyote’s hunting one fall morning, it was cold, and dark and they too, were gorgeous. My only concern up here is the lack of education about how to respect, treat and conserve our wildlife. Ignorance is rampant.

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